Family Health Guide

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Rashes: At the Doctor

You can help your child’s pediatrician or pediatric dermatologist diagnose a rash more quickly and effectively if you come to the visit with detailed information about the flare-up. Before you leave for the doctor’s office, jot down answers to the following questions:  

.        How long has the rash been present?

.        Where on the body did the rash start?

.        Have there been any other symptoms with the rash, such as fever, cough, runny nose, itching, scratching, or trouble sleeping?

.        Are any other family members affected with similar conditions?

.        What treatments have been tried, and for how long?


Dr. Yan of Children’s Hospital Philadelphia also suggests that you bring in medications that have been used on the rash before. “It can be hard to remember the exact name and dosage of a medication used, so bringing in the actual bottle or tube can be key,” he says. In case your child needs a skin biopsy, bringing along some of his favorite toys or comfort items is also a good idea. “The doctor will typically use a numbing cream, which will help with the discomfort, but distraction is great during the procedure itself,”  says Dr. Yan. “Reading stories, blowing pinwheels, playing a video game, even singing can help.”